Rory McIlroy is daring to dream of the green jacket again – after a freakishly good Friday recovery at Augusta put him right back in the mix.
As talk of a disqualification for Tiger Woods grabbed the headlines, after an illegal drop, McIlroy slipped under the radar and right back into contention.
The 23-year-old Ulsterman recovered from bogeying two of the first three holes with an eagle three at the eighth hole the highlight of his round.
McIlroy returned a second round 70 and finished the day four behind Aussie leader Jason Day.
McIlroy told the Irish Independent: “The big thing that worked for me was discipline. You had to be very disciplined, not go for pins at times.
“I knew par was a good score and I knew if I took my opportunities as they came along, anything under par would be good.”
A birdie at the 18th sets McIlroy up nicely for the weekend. He added: “It was good to make that putt at the last. I didn’t play my best on the first few holes and made a lot of good putts for pars on the front nine but that eagle on the eighth really got me going.
“It was a kickstart and I began to hit some really good quality shots. I stayed patient out there when I needed to and it was a good day.”
McIlroy is the only Irishman around for the weekend. Graeme McDowell missed the cut by one shot on five over while Dubliner Padraig Harrington was on his way home after finishing on nine over.
Irish amateur Alan Dunbar ended up 16 over par on his Masters debut.